Thank you

Dear Podcast Posse, 

I know it’s still Advent, but what the hell: Merry Christmas!

On behalf of the entire crew at Crackers and Grape Juice, I want to extend our sincere gratitude for your support of our humble endeavor. Your feedback encourages us. Your questions stretch us. And your giving has enabled us to grow this community beyond a simple stable of podcasts. This past year we’ve offered online classes with scholars like Phillip Cary, started a biweekly newsletter for donors, published new books, and surpassed a million downloads. 

Each statistic— I should point out— represents a person. 

Thank you for helping us reach them.

Also, thanks for helping us pay the bills. 

“And Tommie,” 

— Tommie Marshall, 12/10/21

When Teer and I first attempted to start a podcast almost six years ago…let’s say it was cringe-worthy and, for very good reasons, it did not last longer than a Matthew Perry sitcom. We needed the whole team to make this into a ministry that provides community and conversation to millions of listeners and feeds us as well. We’re incredibly lucky that it is not uncommon for us to get comments like the email I received just two days ago, which said, “Having listened to you all every Friday, I feel like you’ve become my friends. Just as important, you’ve given me a way to continue calling myself a Christian— if in a dismayed, halting voice.”

Maybe it’s obvious, but it should still be made plain. The work you all support is even more critical during a time when so much of the Church’s ministry has gone shuttered for almost two years and scores of people, in and out of the Church, have experienced loneliness and isolation. The annual study by Edison Research on Americans’ use of spoken word audio has just been released.

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Key Findings:

  • Spoken word’s share of audio listening has increased over music by 40% over the last seven years and by 8% this year.

  • Spoken word audio’s growth is driven by large increases in young and multicultural audiences.

  • While most listeners cite the ability to multitask as one of the main motivations for spoken word audio listening, young and multicultural audiences are more likely to cite other reasons such as connection, education, new perspectives, and self-improvement (“an inward view”).

Other Findings:

  • 75% of the U.S. population listened to spoken-word audio in the past month.

  • In 2021 45% of the U.S. population will listen to spoken-word audio daily, up from 43%.

  • In 2021 spoken-word audio daily listeners average 2 hours and 6 minutes per day listening.

  • 57% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast—hit an all-time high in 2021.

  • In 2021 distribution of spoken-word audio by listening platform: 
    AM/FM radio 48%, podcasts 22%, other 30% (streaming audio, SiriusXM, audiobooks, etc.)

  • Podcasts’ share of time with spoken-word audio has increased by 176% over the last seven years, 16% in the last year.

Bottom Line:

We’re still in the early stages of this format, and thanks to you, we’re able to make sure a patch of this new frontier is a winsome and faithful form of Christian conversation. 

This Year’s Stats:

Top Episodes

  1. Episode 314: Tony Robinson & Will Willimon - Grumpy Old Men

  2. Episode 319: Ryan Burge - The Nones, Myths about the Trump Voter, and the Shrinking Silver of Progressive Christianity

  3. Episode 290: Jeffrey Pugh - Bonhoeffer for Troubled Times

  4. Episode 300: Brian Zahnd - How I Read the Bible

  5. Episode 322: Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon: The Day that Changed the World

195,000+ Downloads

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We’ve got plans for 2022. Teer and I will be starting a weekly program in partnership with Callin, a new app that will allow more interaction between hosts, guests, and the audience in real-time. Join the platform now, follow Teer and Jason, and get ready for a new show in 2022.

We hope to offer more online classes and return to some live in-person events. If the rest of the crew can persuade me, we’ll return for coverage of the UMC’s Divorce Proceedings. 

If you listen, you already know that Stanley Hauerwas likes to say Christianity is how God gives us friends we wouldn’t have if God hadn’t given us Christ. As with most things, Stanley is right. You’re but an example. 

Merry Christmas, 

CGJ (written by Jason Micheli, the eldest of the crew)

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